Press Release 28th May 2012 – for immediate release
One year after UN Recommendation Magdalene women are no closer to an apology or redress

Justice for Magdalenes (JFM), the survivor advocacy group, is today submitting its NGO Follow Up Report to the United Nations Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) in Geneva, Switzerland. This one-year follow up process requires the Irish State to report back on measures taken to put last June’s recommendation on the Magdalene Laundries into effect (see copy of Recommendation below[Note 6]). JFM finds it unacceptable that 12 months later Magdalene survivors are still waiting for an apology, redress and reparation.

JFM will also present a courtesy copy of its Follow Up Report to Ms. Felice Gaer, Director of the Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights and Vice-Chair of UNCAT at an event co-sponsored with the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) in Dublin on Monday afternoon (See events details below[Note 1] and please note advisory regarding Ms. Gaer’s attendance at the event in a private capacity [Note 3]).

JFM is delighted to help welcome Felice Gaer to Dublin and to thank her personally for her efforts last year in challenging the ”voluntary” nature of the Magdalene Laundries system, as asserted by the head of the Irish delegation in Geneva last May. (See link to YouTube clip below, Note 5.)

JFM’s Report welcomes the establishment of the Inter-departmental Committee to “clarify state interaction with the Magdalene Laundries.” Nevertheless, the Report points out the ways in which the Inter-departmental Committee does not satisfy the “prompt, thorough and independent” investigation called for by UNCAT. JFM has submitted over 1,500 pages of evidence of State interaction to the Committee. We look forward to the publication of Committee’s report, due by mid-2012.

Maeve O’Rourke, JFM Advisory Committee member, who represented JFM at UNCAT in Geneva and is speaking at today’s event said: “Our report states clearly that the government has failed to implement the UNCAT Recommendation, which called on the state to ensure that Magdalene survivors obtain redress and to establish an independent investigation into the full extent of the abuse. We acknowledge the important work of Senator McAleese’s Committee, however, it should not impede the women’s access to an apology and redress, and we also reserve the right to call for a fully independent inquiry with statutory powers to compel evidence.”

James M. Smith (Boston College and JFM Advisory Committee) said: “While JFM will continue to cooperate with the Interdepartmental Committee, we assert that there is ample evidence of state involvement with the Magdalene Laundries to warrant an apology, pensions and restoring lost wages to this group of aging and elderly women. They need help now while still alive to benefit from it.”

This week JFM will submit the first tranche of newly gathered survivor testimony to Senator McAleese, totalling 519 pages. Claire McGettrick (JFM Advisory Committee member) said: “In the testimonies already gathered, all survivors told us that they could not leave the laundries, that the doors were locked and the windows inaccessible. If they did try to leave they were returned by the Gardaí, while others decided not to try to escape because they knew the same fate awaited them. They all told us they could not complain, in most cases they remarked that there was nobody to complain to; while others begged to leave, often on a daily basis, but all were refused. Every single survivor confirmed that they were never paid, that no inspections were ever carried out and that no government official ever came to check on them.”

JFM is delighted to participate in this event with ICCL and to share our experience at UNCAT with other organisations. Central to JFM’s UNCAT experience was the use of YouTube clips which were made possible by the webcast hosted by the ICCL and the Irish Penal Reform Trust (IRPT) who will also speak at today’s event.

[ENDS]

 

15 Responses to “One year after UN Recommendation Magdalene women are no closer to an apology or redress”

  1. FXR says:

    Calling on all activists and survivors to protest at the 50th Eucharistic at the RDS on Sunday 10th June 2012 at 12:30. All are welcome to attend whether as individuals or groups.

    It will continue there for the week until Sunday 17th June 2012 where a final mass will be said in Croake Park – 13:00 till 17.15.

    Time table for events for the Congress http://www.iec2012.ie/index.jsp?p=141&n=151

    Dublin Bus Info from city center to RDS http://www.dublinbus.ie/en/Route-Planner/Route-Planner/

    Facebook Page
    http://www.facebook.com/groups/152861764838587/

  2. Martha says:

    Jackson Pauline wrote:-

    “You know martha. in roscrea where my father lived it seemed a lot of nice people lived there. The fear of being set apart kept most of them going to church. every body seemes to have this fear no matter what religion thay practice. the effect on all people ruins lives everywhere. tolerence and religion just dont go together. when one person is so sure of whatever thay are saying thay cant accept other ideas.”

    Yes, Pauline, but its only people – and I’m talking about ADULTS here – who still adhere to the religious ideology of their childhood who are so riddled with fear that they cannot live a normal life.

    Unfortunately, many people who have grown up with tyrannical adults often become tyrants themselves, however well they disguise their own desire to control others.

    As far as I’m concerned, a “Good Catholic” is one (adult) who is quite expert at concealing his/her desire to control others. The term “Con Artist” comes to mind …

  3. mary says:

    Robert thanks for supporting the Magdalene laundries and the industrial school.Its causes a lot of pain and anger when as a seven year old I entered this shit hole to see my mum and then abused afterwards to remind me for life that sexuality is something you do not enjoy so I would never turn out like her. Did you know the day she died the evil left my life she was gone and there was never any need to mention this women again. Years later I was to meet an elderly lady who remembers my mum when she entered the laundry she tried to comfort her she was heard screaming for her children. The lady describes how she was locked in her room for her own safety.After that this lady tell me she never uttered a word again.But slaved for the nuns for twenty seven years. The treatment from the Irish state regarding the laundries says it all. These women and there families are the lowest in life.Paddy thanks for your website and allowing me to have a say that is truthful. There are a lot of groups now trying to support these women and make money on these women s pain there are records of everyone who was in these laundries I have my mums and sisters which goes back to the sixty’s. The real truth has not been told.

  4. robert says:

    Someone should have fought to help was there NO ONE OUT THERE ?

  5. robert says:

    http://www.thejournal.ie/shatter-to-write-to-magdalene-survivors-after-criticism-of-states-response-469065-Jun2012/#comment-432768Here is my comment on the Journal.
    I write this without being predigest
    Ireland is and always was a democratic state men and women lost their Lives for this freedom and must be remembered for such heroism on their backs this is a great democracy and a great people, so today the people deserve to hear the truth. The Magdalen Laundries were every thing that a democracy is not it was a dictatorship where women were forced to work without any crime and locked away and had their babies taken away from them of ten sold for profit plus the actual abuse on the Ladies own lives as well as the abuse of their democratic rights, This Minister must see this from this point of view as every irishman and woman believed this state to be democratic. They were forced to work with no pay it was NOT the dark days those dark days were medieval times but this was later and up to contemporary times, to the birth of the 40s the first adolescence culture, the Rocken Roll Years, The swinging sixties, the glamrock 70s and even the Soul and reggie 80s where men and women were enjoying their lives dancing drinking celebrating, young women enjoying their freedom but behind these walls were a hard life, a cruel life, none of the listed good times but sheer horror a nightmare of fear and corruption, BLOOD SWEAT AND TEARS WAS WHERE THESE EXPRESSIONS CAME FROM.
    JUST AS THE INDUSTRIAL SCHOOLS WHERE THE PUBLIC WERE LED TO BELIEVE CHILDREN WERE FED SCHOOLED AND CARED FOR THEY TOO SUFFERED THE SAME FATE AT THE HANDS OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH IN IRELAND.
    Where was their human rights where was their equal rights where was their democracy, If these women and children are to be judged by they should be lucky to have a roof over their heads and food in their tummy then what did Ireland fight and die for? So the fat cats can fill their mansions and their dogs? No Poverty is and was a crime against the Irish poor kept there by Greed. These children and ladies worked fingers to the bone in these illegal hell holes and the public were led to believe so different, they are all due wages with interest welfare health, pensions, homes, most are old struggling and dying, the Education minister is keeping all survivors of both schools and Laundries SECTIONED AS VICTIMS, to explain to the public why they invented funds, where all finances will be paid to this office and not the “WITNESSES OF THESE CRIMES” education was constantly first hhhm why? the money. These women and children are now of great age dead, dying, sick, in hospital, in rest homes, in rehabs, on the street, struggling on welfare, still suffering disabilities, on basic pensions, no understanding of living normal lives, busy rearing children and grand children, nursing the sick friends and family, prison, mental problems, no family, living on very basics in rural areas no transport or just not at all interested in education by the way young children of survivors did not qualify for the education fund seems like child development is not oart of education for a child’s future but we know this by the cuts in the budget of the high society of ireland.
    I am sure all gets the point WHY IS EDUCATION ON THE SURVIVOR FUNDS AND FIRST? I THINK THEY JUST DID NOT CARE ABOUT THE SURVIVORS THEY HAVE FEELING FOR THE STRUGGLES THEY HAVE TO PUT BREAD AND BUTTER ON THE TABLE. WHERE IS THE LIST OF WHO BENEFITTED FROM THE SO CALLED EDUCATION FUNDS THE SURVIVORS THEMSELVES OR JUST SOME OF THE FAMILIES? not a hard question
    The Education Minister even admitted himself he is spearheading the 50 50 deal where Religious compensation toward witnesses/survivors ( sectioned as Victims) are now retitled as contributions from the Religious to pay their 50% of the redress costs, Being that the Government admitted by their own free will that they were guilty and as guilty as the Religious then that guilt can only be 100% each or not at all. So is the Education Minister trying to reshuffle the the Justice Department of Ireland, by saying If two people commit the same crime they can now share 50% each of the fine or do 50% of the time? This seems to be the case. When they pay bills they have always reassured the public of the tax returns on such BILLS, They received over 50% back on the Redress and report bills, anyway what was their rush we survivors were going no where fast? we could not afford to. Surely they did not have to pay such high costs in the first place? One office would have done where is the breakdown of the Bill of Redress and report costs who got paid so much of tax payers money? and why? NONONO cant have that now can we? I bet that would have angered the public, plus how much in taxes did this Government get back?

  6. You know martha. in roscrea where my father lived it seemed a lot of nice people lived there. The fear of being set apart kept most of them going to church. every body seemes to have this fear no matter what religion thay practice. the effect on all people ruins lives everywhere. tolerence and religion just dont go together. when one person is so sure of whatever thay are saying thay cant accept other ideas.

  7. Martha says:

    Hi All,

    I don’t know if I’ve told this experience of mine on here before. But I’ll tell this true story again.

    Following the outpouring of the Roman Catholic scandals in Ireland in the mid 1990’s, specifically Mary Raftery’s RTE television documentary “Suffer the Little Children”, I happened to be introduced to an Irish woman who was one of the Faoinse (?) Counsellors listed at the end of that TV programme.

    During my conversation with her she asked me if I had grown up in an “institution”. I replied that I had. She then asked me “Which one?” I then replied “Holy Catholic Ireland”. She reacted to my response in horror and disbelief.

    Is there anything more to say about Ireland ?

  8. Well mary . its not a conflict here. we all have our horror storys but women clawing thier way out of graves is a bit much. Thay are not zombies. the story of the magdelaine ladies and the rest is all linked. supporting a cause doesnt mean that we know what to do . if we stop talking about all of them it wont work it will be forgotten.as will the industriel schools. on the staturary fund its stated for many places but no mention for the industriel part of the whole organisation. i am sure that no one wishes you anything else but luck.

  9. Paddy says:

    I will not approve comments that are abusive to people. The last thing I need on this website, is abuse. I would take the site down before I will allow people to be abusive to one another. Paddy.

  10. mary says:

    Paddy I have the evidence all along.My mum was admitted with her child to Midelton hospital in cork.I was transferred to the Gardi where it went to court to have me admitted into the industrial schools at the age of two and a half. My big sister who was fourteen went to the good Sheperds in cork. She worked there for two years sadly she took her life.At the age of seven the religious orders broke the court order they decided to sent me to the Magdalene laundries to visit my mum. Over thirteen years I arranged a service for mum with her grandchildren present . Anyone that was in a Magdalene laundries was invited not one person came forward. There was no groups and organisation around you could turn to .I must say there was a lot of support from the industrial school.There are a lot of people calming to support the Magdalene women there all hoping to make money from the government to set up groups and research the history of the Magdalene laundries. You only need to talk to Magdalene women let them tell there stories.

  11. mary says:

    Oliver your the cry baby a real man wouldn’t insult a woman only a whimp.O I forget blame the nuns for this. Please do not tell me to hurry up. Typical bully trying to over power females it all about you.This is paddy o Doyle websight not your so don’t use it to insult others.Go back to your magic.

  12. Mary, for pitys sake, hurry up and do something about this Magdelen? Issue. No good, whining at us, who in reality are fellow victims of all the Laundry women. When you decry us, for our efforts, we are hardly going to bend over backwards, upon your behalf. So try and use a little common sense, and take it from there. I honestly can’t believe, that you personally, have the will to act upon anyone’s behalf. You could catch more bees with honey, than your vinegar approach. Twisted Oliver.

  13. mary says:

    well twisted Oliver since when were you interested in the magdalene laundries. If I wanted to name them it will be done in the Irish courts. I have my evidence of what happened to my family.You see you don’t understand the pain of having to go to my mums grave which she shares with seventy five women. You can feel the evil and these women trying to claw themselves out of the grave, It will be a miracle if the Irish government says sorry to these women As they see these women the same way the whole of Ireland does. They are nobody’s.

  14. Martha says:

    From the article:-

    “James M. Smith (Boston College and JFM Advisory Committee) said: “While JFM will continue to cooperate with the Interdepartmental Committee, we assert that there is ample evidence of state involvement with the Magdalene Laundries to warrant an apology, pensions and restoring lost wages to this group of aging and elderly women. They need help now while still alive to benefit from it.”

    So, do we vote NO on Thursday, or does voting count anymore? Just asking …

    Oliver Whelan wrote:-

    ” … what a great opportunity to decry your Persecutors. Shame them, at least, even if you can’t name them. It only sticks, if you throw it. Twisted Oliver.”

    Mud/shit can easily be removed. How about “throwing” something much harder? You know, Oliver, something that really makes an impact?

  15. Surely, a victim or victims should at least leave a comment, what a great opportunity to decry your Persecutors. Shame them, at least, even if you can’t name them. It only sticks, if you throw it. Twisted Oliver.

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